Meet our first Dish Storyteller

Fall is coming! On October 4th at 7pm, cozy up with a warm cider (or favorite local brew), throw a log on the fireplace, and settle in for an evening of storytelling, fellowship, and revelry at The Dish, a free, dynamic online event to support the work of Illinois Stewardship Alliance.

Register Now!

This event will take place virtually. Register today for more details on how to experience this live event on your computer, tv, or phone on Sunday, October 4th. Or if you’re feeling tech saavy, TEXT “theDish” to 243725!

Modeled after public radio’s “The Moth” storytelling program, the evening will showcase a series of live and recorded stories. You’ll hear true tales of intrigue, joy, and resilience told by Illinois farmers. Our theme for the evening is “Comfort Food.”  As we navigate these challenging times together, three different farmers will share three very different stories of personal challenges and tribulations, and ultimately, the places, people, and ideas where they find comfort and hope.

Our FIRST storyteller: Harold Wilken – Janie’s Farm & Mill, Ashkum

At Janie’s Farm in Ashkum, south of Kankakee, Harold and his son Ross Wilken are continuing their family’s tradition of growing good food for their community. Harold’s great-grandfather began farming in Illinois in 1882, and had an organic and biodiverse farm LONG before anyone called it that. By the time Harold began to farm, everyone was using synthetic chemical pesticides and fertilizers. After a devastating tragedy in 2001, the Wilken’s put down chemicals, transitioned to organic farming, and never looked back.In 2017, Harold constructed Janie’s Mill around two custom-made stone mills to process their own and nearby farmers’ grains. Janie’s Mill ships USDA-certified Organic wheat, rye, oats, corn, buckwheat, heirloom and ancient grains all over the U.S. and Harold hops in his own van to deliver Janie’s wholesome products around the region.

Headline Storyteller: Rick Bayless – Chef and Restaurateur

If you’re passionate about food, you’ve heard of Chef Rick Bayless. Perhaps eaten at one or more of his nine restaurants. Maybe perused one of his seven cookbooks. Or watched one of his cooking shows. You know he’s passionate about local food too: he’s been a leader in Illinois and the Midwest in supporting farmers and building our region’s local food supply chain. He’s also passionate about storytelling, so you’ll want to tune in to The Dish October 4 to hear more of his story – directly from the chef himself.

Hosted by WBEZ’s Monica Eng, and featuring an online auction overflowing with farm-fresh fun, and a live goat cam, this is a one-of-kind event you won’t want to miss. Register today to experience all that Rick Bayless, Monica Eng, our storytellers, and the Alliance team dish up on Sunday, October 4th at 7pm

Register Now!

This event will take place virtually. Register today for more details on how to experience this live event on your computer, tv, or phone on Sunday, October 4th. Or if you’re feeling tech savvy, TEXT “theDish” to 243725!

Can’t make it? Help support the Alliance’s work with farmers to build just and regenerative foods systems by making a donation. Sorry I can’t make it, but I will DONATE! Follow us on Facebook & Instagram for hot-out-of-the-oven event updates!

Virtual Auction Sneak Peak

Did you hear? The Dish also features an online auction of some AMAZING local food-related items and package. We’re still setting the auction up, but wanted to give you a sneak-peak behind the auction curtain. Take a look at this super-yummy morsel of a package that just arrived:A tour for 6 guests at the Epiphany Farms Estate at Moraine View,
followed by a Chef’s Tasting Experience at Epiphany Farms Restaurant in Bloomington. The Farm Tour & Tasting showcases Epiphany’s connection to the rich Central Illinois farmland they are proud to steward.

When the auction opens, you won’t want to miss bidding for this culinary adventure through Epiphany’s amazing gardens and pastures. Online auction opens on September 25 and will be open to anyone, anywhere for bidding!! Watch for action items to be posted here on Sept 25.

Register Now!

This event will take place virtually. Register today for more details on how to experience this live event on your computer, tv, or phone on Sunday, October 4th. Or if you’re feeling tech savvy, TEXT “theDish” to 243725!

Meet The Dish Host Committee

Shari O’Donnell • Leslie Cooperband & Wes Jarrel – Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery • Richard Lyons • Melissa Schwoerer – Engrained Brewery & Restaurant • Rachel Berry – Illinois Hemp Growers Assn. • Jenny Sauer-Schmidgall • Kendra Boesdorfer – Custom Cup Coffee • Rikkisha Candler • Kathy Pecora • Tim Magner • Jennifer Wilcox • Emily Wright • Erica Beeman • Ben Hankins • Jay McGee • Molly Gleason • Piero Taico • Angie Mizeur • Liz Rupel • Kathleen Mueller • Liz Moran Stelk

Thank you to our Sponsors

We couldn’t do what we do without the help of local businesses and individuals that care about family farms, healthy communities, and wholesome food for all. It takes each and every one of us, working together, to create change. Thank you so much to those who are helping to lead the way!